Five years. I spent five years having doctors tell me my war against the Faceless was all in my mind. Five years maintaining a facade, putting on a mask and pretending that yes, of course, they were right, and I needed help. I spent five years with many sleepless nights, gazing out a barred window and seeing the nemesis to all humanity standing outside the institution, writhing tentacles reaching through the gate, quivering with longing. Five years hearing the screams of the irreversibly-broken as they, too, laid eyes on madness itself.
These are not five years I will look back on in my golden years with fondness and nostalgia. Even now, I wake up every morning and slip on a mask. Just the quiet girl whose doctors are helping her. That's who my neighbors see--a murderer trying to reform, to put her life back together. In a way, they're not wrong. I realize now, in retrospect, how far I'd fallen and how many cognitive biases I'd erected, barriers hastily cast to shield myself from the reprehensibility of my deeds.
There's a word that eludes me, that ultimately led to my current situation. The Lovecraftian urge to continue writing even as one is being devoured, against all logic. I posted public confessions to unthinkable crimes. How could the police not act when they were inevitably sent in? I was on the run with a small group when the police came for me. The others escaped. I had neither the energy nor the will to evade both man and abomination.
I don't know why the Faceless did not come for me during my brief stay in prison as I awaited trial, or in the institution while I wore a mask and played the part of the tragic protagonist in a play gone horribly wrong.
I'm stalling. I finally mustered up the courage to read the final posts on Re... Ray's blog. I don't know why. Even when I was permitted supervised time on the internet, I avoided his blog like the plague. I knew through other means that he'd died. I didn't want to know the specifics. How do you make yourself read how your best friend dies fighting the monster you've run yourself ragged fighting, then skirting outside the notice of, then fighting again?
But Dr. Connell is right about one thing. I don't get better by shielding myself from the truth. I don't heal by maintaining the masquerade, dancing with my partners and insisting I'm something I'm not.
It's time to put the mask down.